Monday, December 23, 2013

The One and Only Child

The last couple of weeks, we've been talking about children, being child-like, and being childish.  All of those possibilities fit how we, as humans, can be.  One of the things that's really clear is that Jesus had an appreciation for children and child-like qualities.  I think the Christmas season gives us an answer why.

Mark 10:13-16 (KJV)  And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.  But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.  Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.  And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.  

We've been circling around that passage for the last few posts on the subject.  We've seen several things.

  1. Jesus wasn't upset with the children.
  2. He actually liked having them there.
  3. In John 13 and John 21, He referred to His disciples as children.  Yes, it's an indication of need of growth and learning, but also that there is relationship.  By extension, that's us, too.
  4. He said we need to be child-like in our faith.  That's not the same as childish.
We can wonder at there being so many references until we think about a couple of other verses.

Hebrews 4:15 (KJV)  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 

Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 

As I was meditating on Jesus' life, something struck me.  There are many references to God or angels appearing as seeming adult men.  But none of those instances was useful toward giving us the gift of salvation.  When we look at Hebrews 4:15, one of the things that pops out at us is that Jesus had to experience all we experience.  It was prophesied in Isaiah 9:6 that there would be a child-God.  But it doesn't say why.  The passage in Hebrews does.

When we look at that verse, it says that the Messiah had to feel all we feel and He had to go through the same temptations.  It's been shown that there is feeling in the womb.  Physical and transferred emotional responses from the mother.  The birth process certainly has its traumas, going from a very protected environment into an ever changing world.  And all of that leads to whatever responses the baby may have.  Who knows what temptations that might include?  Perhaps the possibilities of some unspoken attitudes toward the disruptions of coming into the world.

There's also all the stuff that kids do and go through as they grow up.  I used to think of the birth as a starting point, but with salvation focused on the Cross.  I realize, now, how wrong that was.  It's true that the Cross was the culmination of Jesus being on earth.  But the reality is that it's not the only important part of the process.  Everything in Jesus' life was used to bring us the full package. As I've written, in other contexts, God doesn't waste anything, including birth and childhood. Everything in His life was essential, not just something that happened, leading to something else more important.

With birth and childhood being almost half of Christ's earthly life, is it any wonder He had a special place for children in His heart?  Keeping that in mind, as we celebrate our Savior's birth, we can be blessed even more by it.  It was an important part of everything that ensured that we all had the possibility of having a full relationship with God.  We really can celebrate, if we've accepted that gift. And, if that's something you haven't done, yet, it's an important step.  Ask God to show you the reality and the necessity of that change in your life.  It's Christ-mas, not partying-mas, not "spend money"-mas, not "trees and lights"-mas.  There's a reason it's been an important event for over 2,000 years.

Wishing all a Blessed Christmas.

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